Since 2006, Cambodia-Dutch Organization has been working in the beautiful surroundings of the village of Chhuk, located 30 kilometers southeast of the city of Siem Reap, where traditional rice farmers and their families live. The villagers of Chhuk still lived without electricity and /or other modern tools in very simple, traditional houses made of bamboo and palm leaf.
The school in Chhuk
There was only a small school building. The Khmer lessons at this primary school (grade 1 to 6) were rarely visited by students during the day in 2006. The quality of teaching at the primary school was of a poor level. The teaching methods were outdated and all basic resources were missing. Due to this fact and the fact that many children had to work and /or look for food in the countryside, the attendance was low. We have informed the parents how important it is for their children to go to school. In 2006 our organization started giving free English lessons after regular Khmer lessons in Chhuk.
The number of English lessons has now risen to around 12 hours a day. Some of these extra lessons are from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. because of the work on the fields that is still required. Due to the popularity of the English lessons, the number of pupils that visit the Khmer school in the morning or afternoon has also risen.
In 2008 we built a new school next to the existing brick school. A proper water pump has been installed and a toilet block and storage space have been installed. The storage space the size of a class is now also used as a preparation and meeting room. In addition to the salaries of the English teachers, we also support families with the purchase of uniforms or a bicycle to go to school.
In addition to social care, where we provide a number of very poor families with some rice and fish for a short period, we sometimes provide medication to sick people. Our organization has also invested in improving the infrastructure in the villages, the unpaved roads always require maintenance (sand and gravel), especially after the rainy season.
For most residents of Chhuk, clean drinking water was not available in 2008, which turned out to be the cause of many physical complaints. The limited water pumps were often broken and in most cases had to be replaced. This situation has now improved, but there is still much work to be done. The lack of medical care was a major problem for many residents, because the nearest hospital was in Siem Reap. This is an hour’s drive by tuktuk, and the costs were often too high to pay for themselves. A medical post was built in 2009/2010, read more under Medical Post.
The old volunteer house in Chhuk, a typical Khmer house made of poles, bamboo and palm leaf has been demolished and a new brick building was built in 2017/2018 in collaboration with the residents.
From the start, with financial support from CDO, a few children in the house were looked after under the supervision of the English teacher and volunteers. One of these children, Lhaom, has since grown up to be a young woman. She got married in 2015 and now lives with her husband and child in the house and takes care of the current daycare children staying in the house. Lhaom has since followed a course and now also works as an English teacher. Our volunteers stay in this house during their time in Khnar Po.